Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Project...



Background:  I collect vintage hand-embroidered linens...dresser scarves, doilies, pillowcases, etc.  I don't just "collect" them, I actually USE THEM in my home on a daily basis!!!  

However, sometimes items will get stained or develop holes in them, and I can't bring myself to just toss them out.  So what's a girl to do???  For a couple of years now I've been thinking of how I can preserve the embroidery in a quilt.  I came across this blog post this past summer and decided that I wanted to do something similar...


I like the way she cut out the usable parts of the embroidery and added 1930's reproduction fabrics (these kinds of embellished linens are usually from the 1920-1940 era).  This past summer I started collecting 30's repros with this kind of quilt in mind.

However...I LOVE LOVE LOVE star blocks...especially when the stars look like they are floating rather than touching each other.  I've been doing some research and finally found a free pattern here that has floating stars.  

Yesterday I made a test block out of some scraps to see if I liked the way it looked and if it would go together fairly easily without too much aggravation, hair-pulling-out, etc.  I am pleased to announce that it met all of my criteria!  :)

My test block...I'm thinking I might turn it into a pillow for our sofa...



Well...I couldn't stop there.  Nooooooooo...I had to go on and make a block out of one of my vintage pillowcase embroideries...


I know I'm going to have fun making this quilt because I just LOVE those 30's reproduction fabrics.  By the way, because some of these linens are thin, I am applying a lightweight iron-on interfacing to them to strengthen them in the quilt.


Now I want to share a new quilting notion with you that I purchased at my LQS, Classic Quilt Shop.   In the past I have hated HST's (half-square triangles) because of having to mark the backs of each little piece and then TRYING DESPERATELY to sew straight, etc.  Just a pain in the you-know-what to me.  They always came out wonky.  :(

I found this notion at the quilt store and used it yesterday to make my blocks and IT WORKS!!!


It is a piece of plastic cling that you put on the bed of your machine and it gives you lines to match up your points to...then you just guide your fabric under the needle while keeping your corners lined up on the lines!!!  Easy-peasy!!!   It also has a 1/4" guide line so when you are sewing a scant 1/4" seam, you just line up your fabric to that one!!!  Since it is a cling it is easily applied and removed as often as you need!

Here it is on my machine with a leader/ender under the needle.   Ten dollars well spent!!!



Loretta


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Busy Busy Busy...


"It's the thought that counts".  

If that is true then I have blogged many, many times over the last couple of weeks because I've "thought" about it a LOT.  Putting fingers to the keyboard is another thing altogether.  

I've been trying to get a couple quilts ready to gift...which I thought would be happening around the beginning of the new year.  However, our plans have changed a little so the quilts will be hanging around here with me a little longer.  BUT at least they will be ready to gift when I get the chance because I've been busy binding and labeling them!

In the past couple of weeks, I finally finished up the Sherbet quilt...


...but haven't had a chance to take pictures of it.  I will post pictures of it soon, though.  I really love the way it turned out!  

Here are the labels I've made for 2 of the quilts I've finished up in the last couple of weeks...



For obvious reasons, I've had to blot out the name of the recipient until such time that they have been gifted.

I finished the quilting on the Daffodil quilt 2 years ago, but had never put the binding on it.  


BUT...I can finally remove that task from my "to do" list and now the quilt is ready for labeling!  :)


See...I told you I'd been busy!!  LOL


Today Andy installed some much-needed track lighting over my cutting table!  


I can see now...it's a Christmas miracle!  I have angled the far right light so it shines on my ironing board.


Tomorrow when I am in town, I will go get some conduit to attach and cover the cord along the wall.

Loretta


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap...

Quote for the Day:
"That's what the holidays are for...
for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute 
~Lara Flynn Boyle

This week we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  Our son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons came in from Georgia last Sunday and just left today.  Even though everyone was in different stages of being sick, including Andy, it was still a good visit.  Of course, I could have done without the gift of their illness that struck me down on Thanksgiving evening after dinner.  

Yep..as if falling down 2 steps onto the hardwood entryway floor on Tuesday (after climbing over the baby gate) wasn't bad enough...I finally succumbed to the crud that has been sweeping across everyone else.  

But onward and upward...since there is no where else to go when you are sick...here are some pictures from their visit...

Andrew I and Andrew III



Little Alex thought it was great fun to go up and down the stairs...




...unfortunately, he's pretty clumsy and rolled down about 10 stairs (thank God they are carpeted) so we had to put a baby gate....

...where he spent much time lamenting his captivity and looking pitiful...


Both of the grandsons LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with Grandpa on the floor...




Paul and his two sons...


Wherever Grandpa is, Andrew will be close by...



Bookend Boston Terriers...their dog, Missy, on the left, and our Ginger on the right...


Our neighbors came over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and we had a good time chatting and laughing together...


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Loretta

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Easy Street"...

Quote for the Day:

Easy street, Easy street
Where you sleep till noon
Yeah, yeah, yeah
She'd repeat, Easy street
Better get there soon.
Easy street, Easy street
Where the rich folks play
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Move them feet
Move them ever-lovin' feet
To easy street, Easy street.
~ "Easy Street" lyrics, from the musical Annie


DONE!  DONE!  DONE!!!  

The Bonnie Hunter 2012 mystery quilt that I started in November 2012 is FINITO!!   Bonnie named the pattern "Easy Street", but I affectionately refer to it as "Scrap Vomit"...because it looks too busy to me.  



For those who don't know what a "mystery quilt" is, quilt designers give out cutting and sewing instructions for a quilt, step by step.  However, YOU don't know what the final design is until the end when they give you the instructions on how to sew the pieces together at the end.  




Before starting this quilt, I had just finished a Christmas quilt in red, green and cream.  I wanted this quilt to be an autumn quilt, so I picked colors of the fall leaves.  

Unfortunately, while I was hoping for this quilt to be mainly brown, yellow/gold and red, it turned out to have a lot more green than I wanted.  It looked like another Christmas quilt to me.  Because of that, I wasn't terribly pleased with the way it turned out.  

I think that adding the yellow and brown borders did help to tone down the "Christmasy" part a little and did help make it look a little more "fallish".



My daughter-in-law saw the quilt top in my sewing room and raved over it, so I told her she could have it for their guest bedroom when I (finally) got it finished.  They are coming in this weekend for Thanksgiving, so I decided that I would finish it before they arrived so that they could take it home with them!   I finished quilting it last week and finished sewing down the binding 2 days ago!  Just in the nick of time!!  

I put it on the bed in our guestroom...the one they will be using while here. Then when they leave they can take it with them.   Kinda like a "door prize"!  LOL   




Loretta


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Catching-Up...

Quote for the Day:
“Being busy is better than being bored. Bored left a long time ago. 
Busy is always around for me."
~ Tabitha Robin


Guess what is FINALLY under my needle!!!


"Easy Street"!!!  This was Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from 2012! 

I've had the top done for a while, but didn't have border fabric for it.  But when we were in Maine this past March, we went to Marden's and I found the perfect border and backing fabric for it!

I got the quilt top, batting, and backing pin-basted about 2 weeks ago but have been busy with work, so didn't get started quilting on it until today.

I'm using a variegated thread by Coats & Clark called "Fall Leaves"... gold, red, and green.



This past weekend, I attended a 2-day chiropractic conference in New Jersey with Dr. Leonette and Troy, one of the chiropractic assistants from work.  We attended lots of informative lectures and got to see...and try out...some of the newest products to help us help our patients.

(Dr. Barwell lecturing)

 (Troy, a lovely young man that I have the pleasure to work with)


Here I am trying out the Heart Rate Variability test.  This tests just how well your nervous system is working and how well your body is able to recover from stress.  Let's just say...I failed!  :(   My body has worked too long on "high alert" from being a critical care RN for 31 years.  I need to work on learning techniques to deal with stress...meditation, exercise, etc,..and give my autonomic nervous system a break!

Andy went with me to New Jersey and we stayed an extra night so that we could visit my sister, Mary Ellen, who lives in Manhattan.  She came to where we were staying and we spent the evening with her and went to dinner.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with her since we hadn't seen each other in almost 3 years!

Loretta

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In-Cognito....



I've been in the Federal Witness Protection Program...and that is my excuse for not blogging for the last 3 weeks!!!   

I've been taking pictures and "planning" in my brain to write blog posts, but I'm either too busy with "life" or I'm resting trying to recuperate from "life".  With our recent vacation to Georgia (that will be a post coming up soon, I hope) and working two part-time jobs, I haven't had much time to quilt, so the little amount of "down-time" that I've had lately has been spent in my quilting room bonding with the quilts I am currently working on (a subject for another blog post soon, I hope).

But for now, let me tell you about a recent event that I was fortunate enough to attend...and not just as a visitor but as an employee!

Enliven Chiropractic, the chiropractic office that I work at, moved into a bigger office/work space this past summer and then recently celebrated their 2-year Anniversary!  To celebrate both of these accomplishments with our patients and community, we held an Open House this past Friday.  

Yvette...the Office Manager

Dr. Leonette and myself...
this is THE DOC that has given me back my life!!!

(Geeze, I didn't realize he was so much taller than me till I saw this picture!  Ya know...I don't realize how short I am till I see pics of myself with somebody else!  Crazy...I know...)


left to right:  Linda (Doc's mom), Faye (longtime family friend of the Leonettes), Yvette, Rebecca (a psychologist that uses a room in our office suite), and myself





We had a good turnout and it was a lot of fun!  For a shy person like myself, it was a stretching exercise to chat with people I didn't know, but I was able to step out of my comfort zone a little and do some tours of the facility.  We were also giving free demonstrations of our Mind Spa, and I set people up with that (which is something I do there, anyway), otherwise, I busied myself with setting up and keeping the food and drink table stocked.

I am blessed to work with such a great group of people! 

Loretta 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Anniversary to ME!!

Quote for the Day:
"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."
~Mahatma Gandhi


One year ago today, I sat in my primary care physician's office and heard these words, "We need to think about putting you on disability.  Not today, but soon."

I was at the crossroads.  My pain medicine doctor could only offer me radio frequency ablation of the nerves to help with my day-in, day-out back pain.

  • The physician uses x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) to direct a special (radiofrequency) needle alongside the medial or lateral branch nerves.
    • A small amount of electrical current is often carefully passed through the needle to assure it is next to the target nerve and a safe distance from other nerves. This current should briefly recreate the usual pain and cause a muscle twitch in the neck or back.

    • The targeted nerves will then be numbed to minimize pain while the lesion is being created.
    • The radiofrequency waves are introduced to heat the tip of the needle and a heat lesion is created on the nerve to disrupt the nerve's ability to send pain signals.
    • This process will be repeated for additional nerves.

    Burn my nerve to stop pain impulses???  Ummm...no...thank you very much. 

    My neurosurgeon said I wasn't "bad enough" to qualify for surgery because "we don't do surgery for pain, we do surgery for function"...and I hadn't lost "function"...yet.  "But call me when you can no longer use your hands or fingers, or when you start falling, or lose bowel or bladder control."  

    Ummm...gee, thanks for that encouragement, but that doesn't sound like fun at all!

    By this time I was in my second go-around of physical therapy, but it didn't seem to be helping at all with the pain.  

    I was barely able to keep up with the part-time work load of my Recovery Room job that was 2-12 hour shifts/week.  I was definitely at a crossroads and didn't know what else to do or try for what was, by that point, a three year stint of back pain.

    As I sat in my primary care doctor's office, I told her that I wanted to try one more thing before we gave up.  I had an appointment with a new chiropractor that afternoon.  She told me to try it and see if it helped.

    Later that afternoon, I sat in Dr. Leonette's office at Enliven Chiropractic while he looked over my MRI and x-ray results that I had brought in with me.  He looked me in the eye and told me, "I can help you".  And that, folks, was like throwing a drowning person a life preserver.  He had such conviction in his voice that I couldn't help but believe him.

    He proceeded to do the initial exam, x-rays, etc.,  When he was done he said he would look over the x-rays and I was to come back the next day for my first adjustment.   

    Here it is, a year later, and not only am I NOT on disability, but I am actually working TWO part-time jobs...my Recovery Room 2 -12 hour shifts/week, AND 8-12 hours a week for Dr. Leonette!!

    Cured???  No.  But my life...and health... have been given back to me, and for that I will always be grateful!!  I am once again able to do activities of daily living that most people take for granted...but I never will again!!!

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!!

    Loretta